Volunteers called to help plant 50,000 seedlings in fight to conserve Ludlow Tuart Forest

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
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Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group vice president Des Donnelly with some of the Tuart seedlings to be planted this week.
Camera IconLudlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group vice president Des Donnelly with some of the Tuart seedlings to be planted this week. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Between Busselton and Bunbury stands Ludlow Tuart Forest, the largest remaining forest of its kind in the world with trees soaring more than 33m into the sky.

But while tall and mighty, the tuarts are facing a conservation crisis, last year listed as “critically endangered” following decades of land clearing, the timber industry, farming and urban sprawl restricting the population to ever smaller pockets.

Despite the pouring rain last week, volunteers from across the region came out in droves to plant some 50,000 seedlings to restore stands of the iconic South West species.

Organised by the passionate volunteers behind the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group – who last year planted 17,000 seedlings with the help of 400 school children and 100 community members – they hope one day the forest will return to its former glory.

“It’s very significant that this section is protected,” president Evelyn Taylor said.

It’s the only tuart forest in the world and we’re down to 3,000ha – it was 110,000ha originally so we’ve used 97 per cent of this forest.

Evelyn Taylor
Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group vice president Des Donnelly with some of the Tuart seedlings to be planted this week.
Camera IconLudlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group vice president Des Donnelly with some of the Tuart seedlings to be planted this week. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

But due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions, Mrs said they were unable to use school groups and were calling on the community to donate their time over the next couple of weeks to help out.

Vice president Des Donnelly – who first came to Ludlow in 1972 as the district forester – has been a driving force behind the project and hoped within 10-15 years, tuarts would dominate once more and the weeds that had invaded over the years would take a back seat.

It’s going to take 100 years – but if we don’t start we won’t get there.

Des Donnelly

“If we can get the tuarts established… all of the other plants that go along with the tuart forest will start to come back. There’s a lot of native plants still here, they just need space to grow and some cover.”

Anyone wanting to get involved can contact the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group on Facebook.

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